It’s gotta be the shoes!
Scott Clemensen, MD DABMA; Kaiser Permenente Baseline Medical Offices; Family Medicine; Centers for Complementary Medicine
This myth has been around long before Spike Lee commented on Michael Jordan’s prowess on the court and selling Nike high tops. No sport today is confounded with more complicated shoe technology than distance running. From “minimalist” barefoot shoes to two inch foam platforms, every shoe company has a different take on what is best for performance and comfort. Having spent way too much time and money trying a wide variety of shapes and styles, the best thing I ever did was take 10 minutes to get my gait analyzed at a reputable running store. After watching my size 12s plodding along in super slow motion, I could easily identify (with some help) the prominent features of my gait….Where my foot landed on my heel, how my feet tended to rotate to the outside of the foot (pronation). A good gait analysis will also include a detailed instruction of how to recognize the kind of shoe you should be looking for when shopping, not by price tag, but by the way the shoe is constructed. It is easy to identify the tread pattern and foam bracing of a shoe designed to limit certain gait defects (like pronation). With this baseline knowledge, I can basically walk into any big box sporting goods store and chose from a variety of overstock running shoes at a fraction of the cost of the newest models. (One of the great advantages of having size 12 feet is that they are typically one of the sizes left over and on clearance).
Other benefits of a gait analysis include the ability to consider changing your training to actually change your gait to promote a healthier running style, improve performance, and prevent injury.